Accounting for biodiversity
A key area of interest is on the potential for the SEEA to support policy and decision-making concerning the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity at levels other than ecosystems. There is widespread agreement that the SEEA is a useful framework to measure biodiversity, however, there exist a variety of perspectives on how the SEEA can better reflect the measurement of biodiversity throughout the framework. A broader discussion to close the gap in understanding between the statistics/accounting, economics and biodiversity community is ongoing.
See more on the general page on biodiversity.
The SEEA EEA offers some coverage of biodiversity, but it does not create a single account for biodiversity. For instance, some aspects (e.g., the presence/abundance of ecosystem types) are covered by the ecosystem extent accounts, many others (e.g., the abundance and diversity of local species populations) are incorporated in the condition accounts, but other aspects (e.g., the genetic diversity within the species, and capturing beta or gamma diversity) may not be covered at all. As the SEEA EEA is currently under revision, this offers an opportunity for a number of these aspects to be considered in the revised SEEA EEA and as part of the broader process of implementation and development of the SEEA.
For summary, please see the accounting for biodiversity brochure.
Subgroup on Accounting for Biodiversity in the SEEA EEA
One of the key areas of interest is on the potential for the SEEA EEA to better understand the connection of biodiversity from ecosystem extent and condition to ecosystem services, economic activity and well-being, and vice versa, as well as to support policy and decision making concerning the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity at all levels including ecosystems. Hence, the Subgroup on accounting for biodiversity in the SEEA EEA was established in February 2020 to support further bridging this gap in terminology and understanding between the biodiversity and the environmental-economic accounting communities, spanning membership from both communities. In particular, in the context of the revision of the SEEA EEA, its role is to better reflect biodiversity in the revised document.
For more information on the Subgroup, please see its terms of reference.
A team of experts has, under the supervision of the Subgroup on accounting for biodiversity in the SEEA EA, drafted a background paper on “Addressing spatial scale in deriving and aggregating biodiversity metrics for ecosystem accounting.”
The background paper is intended to provide guidance to ecosystem accounts compilers on issues of spatial scale and aggregation in relation to biodiversity by clarifying the different concepts and providing options to address the measurement challenges. The paper is also intended to support compilers in engagement with biodiversity measurement experts.